Time Travel or I Can't Believe I Did That

Have you ever wondered why time is so one-way and restrictive? Like, why am I here right now instead of yesterday before that big mistake I made or tomorrow after that horrible thing I dread?

A Brief Story:

When I was but a lad—and also a Mormon missionary—I once borrowed a television from the local church meetinghouse. Some other missionaries were coming to visit for the night, and one of them wanted to show us some videos he'd shot. As I lifted it out of the car, the cord fell down far enough to drag on the ground.

"I should pick that up so I don't trip on it," I thought. Then I thought, "Nyah, I'll just be careful." I would have had to set the TV down, and it was an old boxy one, partly made of wood, and quite heavy.

You can see what's coming can't you?

I carried the TV with the screen against my chest and my arms around the sides far enough to grab the bottom. It was pretty well balanced. When I stepped on the cord—like you knew I would—it pulled the back of the TV just enough to tip it out of my hands and onto the sidewalk right outside our apartment.

There was a crunch. And a hiss. And I watched a circle in the middle of the screen darken. I knew exactly how bad the damage was.

And in that moment, I experienced the awful linearity of time. That WHY DID I DO THAT? feeling. It would have been so easy NOT to drop the TV. I shouldn't have even been borrowing it in the first place! What business did I have TAKING a TV from the CHURCH, let alone BREAKING IT?!

I would have given anything to get a second chance at the previous three seconds.

Stuff like that still happens to me, though not usually that bad. There was the could-have-been-fatal car mishap on an icy curve. The email with some unfortunate wording. Other stuff. Like, say, blog posts.


You know, the guy I had to call and tell I broke the TV was terrifying, but it wasn't so bad. When the branch got together to watch General Conference a few months later, he publicly thanked me for making it possible for them to get a brand new TV. It was humbling, as stupid mistakes always are.


  1. great story. And we've ALL been there in some form or another...

    Where did you go?

  2. I believe there are no coincidences. Those things do happen for a reason and they happen to everyone! (At least I haven't met a person who hasn't experienced something similar.) We all need them I think. I hope you're okay!

  3. My biggest take-away from this is... Mormon missionary, huh? I come from a family of missionaries. Baptists though. It's always interesting to see a fellow writer with a similar background.

    My instinct when these things happen is to hit the undo button. Ctrl+Z. It's a totally non-phased reaction, "Oh I'll just hit undo," until I realize I'm not on a computer.

  4. Yeah, two years around Melbourne, Australia.

    The Undo feature is the greatest thing ever conceived for computers. Life's a little trickier.

  5. Hey I've been to Melbourne! And Geelong. There was a soccer team there and their team song was like "We are Geelong, we're always on the ball!" Random memory.

  6. "We'll play the game as it should be played, at home or far aWAY!"

    That's enough.

  7. Why did you go to Melbourne? Just for fun? Better yet, why'd you go to Geelong? Did you love it?

    Now I'm trying to remember the Aussie version of a Christmas song I learned, but I can't even remember which song it was. But it was hilarious.

    Oh! It was Jingle Bells. "Dashing through the bush/in a rusty Holden ute/Kicking up the dust/Esky in the boot..."

  8. I went there on a "missions trip" during college. Not like we did a lot of missions work. Really, it was a glorified "see the world" trip, as missions trips often are. I mean, I've been on legit missions trips where we actually help build buildings, paint stuff, etc. But this one was a lot of nancing around. Basically, we went to churches and entertained people.

    God, I sound like a bad Christian now.

    Yes, I loved Australia. Geelong reminded me of Texas, where I live. A lot of open space.

  9. Oh, it was a 5 week "missions trip." Which was the main reason I picked it. You don't get a feel for a country with a 1 week deal.


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